In recent years, there has been a collective movement towards natural and homeopathic methods of general wellness. Unconventional ways of treating internal and external medical conditions have proven to be successful when employed correctly. Moreover, as conversations around mental health grow increasingly prevalent, natural means of soothing the mind have skillfully emerged.

Enter ashwagandha, an Indian evergreen shrub that has been recently repurposed to alleviate stress, promote heart health, and reduce inflammation. As a central component of Ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha's healing and fortifying properties have been celebrated in the Eastern world for centuries. An Ayurvedic Scholar, who dates back to 100 BC, once said, “One obtains longevity, regains youth, gets a sharp memory and intellect and freedom from diseases, gets a lustrous complexion, and strength of a horse.” This dated description speaks to the versatility of ashwagandha, and its ability to successfully combat a number of problematic conditions, especially those regarding the mind and external body.

The essential herbs in Ayurvedic medicine include ashwagandha, turmeric, and brahmi.

Modern medicine classifies ashwagandha as an adaptogen, which means it fosters the stabilization of physiological processes and promotes calm. Ashwagandha's arrival in the Western world can be credited to its therapeutic attributes which are universally accepted as beneficial. However, ashwagandha's impact on mental health is just the tip of the iceberg, this herb's abilities are more expansive than you might think.

From preventing acne to treating insomnia, ashwagandha has been consistently used as a protean medicine. While it does not have the power to fuel a full recovery from respective conditions, it certainly can make a notable difference. Ashwagandha typically comes in capsule form and can be taken as a daily wellness supplement. Occasionally, it is ground into a fine powder so it can be placed in certain foods and beverages. When you add this simple yet effective ingredient into your daily routine, you are bound to see and feel its advantages. If you are not already on board, here are the five major reasons to include ashwagandha in your wellness regime.

Preventing and Treating Acne

Ashwagandha has both antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which are essential in fighting the creation of new impurities and effective in remedying active blemishes. Moreover, ashwagandha has the capability to boost collagen production in the skin which prevents visible signs of aging. Ashwagandha's potent anti-inflammatory agent will also leave your skin calmer than ever. While ingesting ashwagandha will work from the inside out, there are many DIY face mask recipes that include ashwagandha powder. These formulas have the potential to clear blackheads, heal scars, soothe redness, and improve your overall skin tone. In addition to homemade face masks, a number of skincare brands are making the conscious choice to include ashwagandha in their products, proving that this herb is the perfect antidote to end skin stress.

Promoting Heart Health

Ashwagandha can contribute to treating high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chest pain, and various other heart diseases. Through promoting calm and combatting inflammation, ashwagandha can even lower triglyceride levels. The effects of using ashwagandha as a part of your daily wellness routine can be seen throughout your mind and body—this proves that when you find serenity in your headspace, your heart will feel it, too.

Easing Anxiety

As an adaptogen, ashwagandha has the ability to combat stress and keep the mind sharp. Through lowering cortisol levels, ashwagandha holds the power to boost brain function and help fight off the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Moreover, the herb can help quell the physical sensations of stress such as muscle tension, chest tightness, and dizziness. Ashwagandha can even cultivate better sleeping habits for those who suffer from insomnia by increasing melatonin levels and fostering long-lasting peace of mind.

In a 60-day trial that aimed to test the efficacy of ashwagandha as a stress reliever, 69 percent of the people involved reported a significant reduction in feelings of anxiety. When using ashwagandha in this way, it is important to choose the right supplements with safe dosages. Some hair growth and skin health supplements include ashwagandha as a central ingredient due to its calming properties. Anxiety is a major cause of break-outs and hair loss, so this use of ashwagandha makes perfect sense.

Fighting Inflamation

Inflammation is a common response the body faces when it is affected by infections or trauma. This kind of swelling can occur both externally and internally and has the potential to manifest as different, more problematic, conditions such as acne or heart disease. Typically, the body is smart enough to produce an anti-inflammatory response to restore the body's balance, but sometimes there are factors that prevent this from happening. Consider the instance of chronic pain, the body is not able to regulate the inflammatory response so the swelling persists. In this context, ashwagandha could help fight excess inflammation by repressing C-reactive protein levels. Ingesting ashwagandha in a supplement or tea form will help reduce inflammation in any and all areas of the body.

Boosting Immunity

In this day and age, immunity is absolutely essential. Studies have shown that ashwagandha is effective in increasing the activity of natural killer cells that fight off infections and boost overall immunity. Additionally, ashwagandha can help produce excess white blood cells which can similarly fortify the body's immune system. Ashwagandha tea is one of the best ways to cultivate immunity, especially when combined with cow's milk, which is rich in calcium. Luckily, there are countless ashwagandha-infused beverages out there, so you can take your pick.